Ecumen Names Shelley Kendrick as Incoming President and CEO; Kathryn Roberts Becomes CEO Emeritus

Shelley Kendrick has been named Ecumen’s incoming President and CEO, effective Feb. 4. Currently Ecumen’s SVP of Operations and COO, Shelley succeeds Kathryn Roberts, who has led the organization since 2003. Kathryn will continue to serve as CEO Emeritus, leading Ecumen Philanthropy.

Shoreview, Minn. – (Jan. 9, 2019) – Darrell Tukua, chairman of Ecumen’s Board of Trustees, announced today that Shelley Kendrick, currently Ecumen’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed to succeed Kathryn Roberts as President and CEO, effective Feb. 4, 2019. Ecumen, established in 1862, is one of the country’s largest nonprofit senior housing and services providers.

The appointment follows Roberts’ decision, shared with the board more than a year ago, to step away from day-to-day leadership and focus on specific areas of the business. Roberts has served as President and CEO since 2003 and will continue in a new role as CEO Emeritus, working part-time.


 “The board is very pleased that Shelley has accepted our offer to lead Ecumen into the future,” said Tukua. “Her commitment to the mission of the organization and to ongoing innovation ensures Ecumen’s continued success as a leader in empowering people to live in the ways that matter most to them.”

Prior to joining Ecumen in 2012 as the Vice President of Operations, Kendrick led the Minneapolis Veteran’s Home, where she advanced the quality of care for Minnesota veterans in need of housing and healthcare. Previously, she managed operations for several health care facilities in Ohio and Minnesota for 15 years. As a member of the board for LeadingAge Minnesota, she is active in legislative advocacy at the state and federal level, working to improve care for seniors across Minnesota. Kendrick has also served on the University of Minnesota’s Health Services Management Advisory Board, encouraging students to choose careers in senior care. She holds a Masters in Nonprofit Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a B.S. in English Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University.

“It has been a privilege to be a member of Kathryn’s team, to learn from her and work with her over the past seven years to build Ecumen’s future vision,” said Kendrick. “I’ve also learned from and been inspired by the employees of Ecumen who care for those we serve with heartfelt compassion. As the aging population grows, I am confident in our employees, who will continue to serve with excellence.”

“I’m exceptionally pleased that Shelley will be carving the path for Ecumen’s future growth and evolution,” said Roberts. “She is an inspiring leader who carries a deep commitment to our mission. She’ll work tirelessly to create the solutions that are needed by our communities as well as a workplace that values, trains and celebrates our employees.”  

As CEO Emeritus, Roberts will support Kendrick’s transition and lead philanthropic development in addition to leveraging her nationally recognized voice of thought leadership in aging services. A former Chair of the National Board of Directors for LeadingAge and current board member, Roberts is known for her innovative work on issues related to housing and services for people with life-changing needs. In 2017, Roberts was named one of the nation’s top 50 “Influencers in Aging” by Next Avenue, a PBS publication covering issues for people 50 and over. She will represent Ecumen as a speaker at events that highlight the organization’s expertise and advocacy work.

Under Roberts’ leadership, Ecumen’s revenue has doubled, a direct result of her strategic repositioning of the organization from a nursing home company to a housing and services organization, and the dozens of groundbreaking initiatives she has introduced.

  • Development of the nationally-acclaimed Ecumen Awakenings™ program, changing the way personal caregivers and community members across the state and country care for individuals living with dementia, without reliance on highly sedating drugs.
  • Introduction of innovative housing solutions that anticipate the quickly evolving demands for independent and assisted living options. The first of Ecumen’s Zvago cooperative independent housing communities opened in 2017 and four more are currently in development. Abiitan Mill City opened in 2016 and was the first senior services community in the core of downtown Minneapolis, reflecting Roberts’ longstanding leadership in the World Health Organization’s Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities program. This spring, Roberts will host representatives from Newcastle, England, in Minneapolis for further discussion on this important platform prior to heading to a national conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Launch of a first-of-its kind workforce program using philanthropic grants to introduce nursing students to senior caregiving in rural Minnesota, increasing awareness of the field as a career choice.
  • Expansion of Ecumen Hospice, today serving more than 10 times the number of people in the state of Minnesota than it did in 2003.                                

About Ecumen

Ecumen, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of senior housing and services, has a nearly 160-year tradition of strengthening communities by empowering individuals to excel at living their lives in ways that matter most to them. Based in Shoreview, Minn., Ecumen operates in more than 40 communities in 8 states — Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. The organization provides a variety of senior housing options and services including independent living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care communities as well as at-home and community-based services including home care and hospice. In 2018, Ecumen’s customer satisfaction ratings, as reported by Pinnacle Quality Insight, reflected a combined average rating of Best in Class. Categories of special note included nursing care, dignity and respect, cleanliness and quality of food. Ecumen has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” 10 times by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and has also been named one of Minnesota’s Top Workplaces by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly Magazine. For more information visit